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Hmm, what a strange day it’s been. I wanted to escape the office today as all the omens are that I’ll be spending a lot of (involuntary) time stuck at home over the winter months, so I’m making the most of what freedom I have whilst I have it.

Anyone reading the political runes over the past couple of days could see that there was a political dog-fight brewing over Covid, the Government’s tier system and the elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. Today it came to a head. With this on the horizon I decided to take a trip into Manchester to document how this is affecting the railways, but also to stock up on some cooking ingredients that we can’t get locally. If I’m going to be stuck at home then cooking is one of my therapies, so having the raw materials that allow me to recreate South-East Asian dishes means a lot as there’s bugger-all chance of me getting out to that part of the world until 2021 at the earliest.

Manchester city centre and the railway stations that serve it were the quietest I’ve seen them for months. It seems that the message is already getting through to a lot of people who’re already staying away. I headed to Chinatown to buy the herbs and other ingredients I needed but the place was pretty much deserted – which felt very surreal for what’s normally a bustling area of the city.

Having got most of what I wanted I made my way back through Victoria station, which brings me on to a very topical picture of the day…

A solitary passenger checks his phone as he waits for the 15.33 to Newcastle at Manchester Victoria, 90 minutes before the Prime Minister was due to make a televised announcement over what Covid tier Manchester was going to be placed in after a very public spat with the elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Personally, my feelings are that right now we’re becoming increasingly ruled by Downing St diktat as the democratic institutions of this country are ignored – be they Parliament or local politicians. Meanwhile the PM’s office has developed a standard tactic of blaming everyone else for Johnson’s failures – be that the EU, Parliament, local Mayors or other devolved institutions. This is only going to get worse as the clock (inexorably) ticks down to January 1st.

Welcome to Britain in 2020…

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